There was a time when I loved being a backpacker. I thought of myself like a little turtle carrying all my worldly possessions as I travelled around Asia. I could quickly pack up my life and move onto the next destination without batting an eyelid.
I’m currently travelling around Europe with Citadines and it reminds me a lot of my backpacking days as I move onto a new destination every couple of days.
The only thing is, this is waay better. No more heavy backpack, no more cheap overnight trains, no more grotty hostels and no cheap booze or budget meals in sight.
I guess I grew out of backpacking a long time ago but I can finally admit it and feel happy about it. For a while I was a flashpacker bur I’m not even sure that applies anymore. Give me a suitcase, a first class ticket and a nice aparrt’hotel and I’m a very happy traveller!
In case you were wondering, here are 30 signs you’re no longer a backpacker…
1. You won’t consider any hostel that isn’t described as ‘luxury’ or ’boutique’
Admittedly, I was never overly excited by the thought of sharing a bedroom (and often bathroom) with 11 other people but these days I just flat-out refuse. You couldn’t get me in a hostel dorm for love nor money.
2. You’re traded in the backpack for flashy wheels
Once upon a time backpacks seems like a really good idea but the wheel was invented for a reason so we might as well use it, right?
Strong people will be rolling their eyes at this and saying a backpack is easier but my fellow weaklings will know what I’m talking about. A 20kg backpack is feels like you’re carrying a house.
3. You’re an expert at packing light
You might prefer wheels these days but you can always get everything in a carry-on case, no matter how long you’re going away for.
4. You don’t want to go out every night
Remember the days when you’d go out every night until 4am and still manage to do something (anything!) the following day? Yea, not any more.
5. You have a plan
You actually travel with a plan these days with some kind of idea of what you’d like to see and do. And I don’t just mean finding a bar with the cheapest beer (although that’s also on the agenda).
6. You have a Lonely Planet
And you don’t just rely on the suggestions of your fellow backpackers you met in hostels.
7. You’ll always upgrade on buses and trains
First class bus and train tickets once seemed like a luxury. Now they’re a necessity. There’s no way you’re taking an overnight train in third class.
You’re not quite ready to upgrade on planes just yet but you know it won’t be long.
So pleased not to be in this carriage
8. Travel hacking
You’re into travel hacking and will shop in certain supermarkets to get those all-important points.
9. You book in advance
You book flights well in advance. Yes, your itinerary isn’t as flexible but it’s so much cheaper!
10. You hate those repetitive backpacker conversations
“Where are you from?”
“Where have you been?”
“Where are you going?”
It gets pretty boring when you realise everyone goes to the same place and does the same thing.
The perks of hotels – jelly delivered to your deckchair!
11. You’re willing to pay more than $2.00 for dinner
We all love street food but sometimes it’s nice to have a table. And a plate. And a glass of wine.
12. You always apply sun cream
You’ll look good with a tan now but you won’t look good with wrinkles in 20 years time.
13. You plan your hangovers in advance
You need to plan the best days to have hangovers because those bad-boys will wipe you out for the whole day. You’ve also said the phrase, ‘I’m only having one drink, I don’t want to be hungover for tomorrow’s early flight.”
14. You pack smart clothes
And actually wear them.
Trying to look sophisticated
15. You call your parents
You actually call your ma and pa rather than letting them rely on your Facebook updates to know you’re alive.
16. You love taxis
You take taxis from the airport to your accommodation to avoid the hassle of public transport.
17. You take day tours
And not just the free city tour which you sneak away from without leaving a tip. Tut tut, backpackers.
18. You realise hot water isn’t a luxury
It’s a basic human right and you can’t possibly wash your hair with cold water.
19. You regularly do your laundry while travelling
The ‘sniff it and see’ test won’t cut it anymore.
I used to wash these shorts about once every two months
20. You’ll pay a little bit extra to avoid Ryan Air
It’s just not worth the effort.
21. You’ve rented a car during your travels
And not just a cheap scooter covered in terrifying scratches and dents.
Iceland – the best place ever for road trips!
22. You’re bored of the ‘I’ve travelled more than you’ conversation
We’ve all met the competitive backpacker at some point. It’s about experiences not ticking items off your bucket list!
23. You want to get off the beaten path
No, really, you’re not just saying it to sound cool before following where everyone else is going.
24. You travel slowly
You’d rather travel slowly and experience a place than whizz through to tick it off your list
I always travel via private yacht
25. You don’t feel the need to stitch flags onto your luggage
You paid £150 for that case, you’re not going to wreck it with badly stitched flags.
26. Your trips are shorter because you have an actual real job
Not just grape picking.
27. You’re happy to travel solo
There was a time when you liked to travel in a group of 4-8 but now solo travel doesn’t seem like such a bad idea.
28. You own expensive, polarized sunglasses
Not cheap ones you picked up for $1 at a market
29. You refuse to drink goon and cheap spirits
They taste like crap and the hangover just isn’t worth it.
30. You don’t feel the need to put everything on Facebook
Some moments are best enjoyed without a competition to get the most Facebook likes.
Do you have anything else to add to the list?